Standifer Gap Marsh


Standifer Gap Marsh is a large marsh complex that provides habitat for herons and egrets, waterfowl, rails, and songbirds. The marsh includes areas of open water, emergent vegetation such as cattails, rushes, parrot feather and arrowhead, and patches of willow and ash trees, and clumps of leadbush and buttonbush shrubs.

View of Standifer Gap Marsh looking south from near the northwest corner of the marsh.

Photos by Charles P. Nicholson

Birding at Standifer Gap Marsh is good throughout the year. Several species of waterfowl are present during the winter. Canada Geese and Wood Ducks breed in the area and can be present year-round. Blue-winged Teal are present in the spring and early fall, and a pair nested at the marsh in 2004. Virginia Rails have been found in all seasons, and, along with Least Bitterns, nest in the marsh. Other species present in the summer include Green Herons, Willow Flycatchers, Common Yellowthroats, Orchard Orioles, and abundant Red-winged Blackbirds. Small numbers of shorebirds such as yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers, and Solitary Sandpipers are present during the spring and early fall, and Wilson's Snipe are present during the winter. The marsh edge and nearby grasslands and shrubby areas provide habitat for various species of sparrows from fall through spring, Bobolinks in the spring, Northern Bobwhite, Blue Grosbeaks, Killdeer, and Eastern Meadowlarks.

Standifer Gap Marsh is located on the northeast side of Chattanooga. From I-75, take Exit 5, Shallowford Road. Go west (to the left from I-75 North, to the right from I-75 South) on Shallowford Road 0.6 miles to the intersection with Hickory Valley Road. Turn right (north) and go 0.7 miles to the first stoplight. Turn left onto Standifer Gap Road. After 0.4 miles, turn right onto a paved entrance road to a new church campus (coordinates N 35.059085, W 85.167189). The marsh area is on your left. DeLorme atlas grid D4, page 25.

For a Google map and directions to Standifer Gap Marsh, enter either your full starting address including town and state OR your zip code:

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Shortly after turning off Standifer Gap Road, there is a large pond on the left which often contains waterfowl. Pond

Past this pond, about a quarter mile from Standifer Gap Road on the left, is a narrow marshy slough (coordinates N 35.061938, W 85.165750) where rails may be seen. Also scan the large open water area and marshy fringe of the main part of the marsh directly behind this slough.

Towards the back of the church campus, about 0.4 miles from Standifer Gap Road, the paved road makes a sharp turn to the right and a gravel road goes to the left. Park along the gravel road and walk along it (coordinates N 35.064651, W 85.16685), scanning and listening for rails, Least Bitterns, Willow Flycatchers, and other marsh birds. Please limit your use of tape playback, especially during the marsh birds' April - July breeding season.

Tennessee Watchable Wildlife account.

DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer Page 25, Grids D-4.

Prepared by Charles P. Nicholson, August 2004.

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